Hello and Help! Godin Multiac Spectrum but no acoustic output

Started by Matti2d, September 20, 2021, 08:29:59 AM

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Matti2d

Hi all - great website! I've been lurking for a few months trying to figure out my GR-55 and GK-3. This has been such a great resource, so thanks for all the great discussions.

I am hoping someone can help me. I finally broke down and purchased a used Godin Multiac Spectrum from Guitar Center. The electric lipstick pickup and 13 pin outputs both work great but the acoustic has no output sound. I tried the acoustic output on my amp and looper and nothing. Shouldn't the piezo work if the 13 pin output works? Aren't they using the same single string saddle RMC pickups but outputting to different chains? I'm debating on whether to return the guitar or try to fix it (if it's an easy fix).

Any suggestions would be really appreciated!

gvidelock

Hi and welcome!

I have a Godin Multiac Steel Spectrum SA from 2011. I never used it with all three connections, but I just ran an experiment for you. With the 13-pin connector to my GP-10, a 1/4" cable from the Piezo output to my QSC-8 powered speaker, and a 1/4" cable from the Lipstick output to my Boss Katana, I found that all three outputs were active at the same time.

I do not have a 9V battery in the battery box, so it was all powered by the 13-pin cable. I also played with all the various volume controls and they seemed to work okay.

I guess I would bring it back to GC and demonstrate the problem for them.

I will also say that when I received one of my Godin's (don't remember if it was this Multiac or my Freeway SA) but two of the piezo saddles were swapped. I traced out the wiring and fixed it myself. I would have thought that wouldn't make it through their QA, but unless you tune the guitar with a 13-pin device connected, you wouldn't notice the swap because the synths still worked.

Good luck,
   ...Gary
-------------------------

Godin Spectrum SA
Godin Freeway SA
Fender Telecaster with Ghost and Hexpander
Fender Stratocaster with internal GK3 with Synth-Linx
Warmoth custom with internal GK3
Boss SY-1000
Roland GR-55
Roland GP-10
Katana 100W Head

Matti2d

Thanks so much for running the helpful experiment Gary!
I had not tried the 13 pin connector into the GR-55 AND the 1/4" acoustic to my looper, so I tried that. Good to know that I can power everything with the 13 pin cable and GR-55 (no 9V needed)! It did help because there was a very weak signal from the acoustic output with a strong synth signal at even 25% volume on the guitar controller. But the acoustic signal had lots of static and would fade out and then go out completely. I tried unplugging the 1/4" cable, powering everything down and then back up. This happened randomly - sometimes the acoustic signal was there, sometimes not. When the acoustic signal went out, the 13 pin synth signal also disappeared.
I recall reading somewhere (but of course cannot now find it) that the 1/4" jacks are also switches, so it seems like that jack has some poor connection(s)?
In any case, I'm leaning toward returning the guitar rather than continue troubleshooting. I'm going to try to find a fully functional LGXT or xtSA.
Thanks again Gary!

JeffTronics

#3
Your purchase is curios to me, if was in the last year. This story is longer and I'll try and keep it down to the reader's digest version with some information I think it will help resolve your issue.

My first purchase of the spectrum was from guitar center online, presented as New. What I received was another story. Water damage, etc. I couldn't believe it. But, there are some people in a warehouse that did not have a problem putting it in a box and mailing it to a customer. Amazing. The replacement was new, but had the problem you are describing. I had enough and returned it to guitar center. After speaking with Godin, they had discontinued the guitar and had one left in production and it was on its way to Sweetwater. I also purchased a black one weeks earlier from musiciansfriend, but it was a gift to a family member. It works, no problems.

Working with sweetwater and godin they tracked the guitar and made sure it ended up in my hands for purchase. This has been my main guitar since. I also own several other godin electrics.

While the guitar worked as expected for a year, then I ran into the problem you were having. Since how these guitars operate can be puzzling, I put in a few hours and concluded something changed and was wrong.

The expected function of the acoustic jack is this; with battery, acoustic jack only, both pickups should be working. The volume slider controls the balance between the bridge and lipstick pickups.

When it's not working correctly, the guitar has a problem with either the ribbon cable or preamp module. I have replaced the preamp module once, and the ribbon cable twice.

It is true the problem does not occur when the 13 pin is in, and is likely why it goes unnoticeable at first because most of the time we are using the 13 pin. Then, one day you want to use the acoustic jack only, and find yourself here on this forum.   

In my case, I had an additional static sound coming from the acoustic jack. It sound exactly like a Fireplace with crackling. I used to tell my friends I was using my new Fireplace pedal – lol

Good news. Godin sells replacement parts you need. And, if your purchase was recent enough, they could either be sympathetic or honor the warranty by sending you an inexpensive new ribbon cable with battery wired assembly. I can tell you, the ribbon cable is problematic because the connector design is not well thought-out in my opinion.  The way it connects to the input jack assembly requires a pretty harsh bend to where eventually stresses the cable and shorts-out, over time. It reminds me of how these cables used to fail frequently in computers. i.e, check the cable.

The cables are cheap and it's best to purchase a few to keep on hand. On the godin site parts page you will also see you can purchase a preamp assembly which is pricey, but in my case good to have an extra one around. For me, this guitar is awesome and I want to get as much mileage from it, as a I can. I recommend also giving them a call to make sure you are getting the correct preamp. Not all of them are lasted on the parts page.

https://godinguitars.com/product-category/parts/preamps

As a point of reference, when I was troubleshooting my issue I was in communication with Richard @RMC, and he was kind enough to walk me through an understanding of how everything worked. So I'm passing it on here.  We came to the conclusion, start with replacing the ribbon cable. Even though godin will send you the battery wiring too, don't replace it unless you need it. Because it requires soldering. Otherwise hopefully you are comfortable with a screwdriver and taking your time to drop in the new cable. I left the old cable sitting in the guitar with no impact. When I had to put in the 2nd cable, I finally decided to remove the unwanted cables. Before unplugging the old cable, make sure you have the new cable orientation line up correctly. One side is color coded red.

After the replacement, the acoustic jacks works correctly when used alone.  Also, I wonder if you got the second guitar I returned to guitar center.


Matti2d

Jefftronics thank you for the detailed description! The acoustic output is exactly like that! Lots of crackle and "fireplace" sounds - if I get any output at all. I will inspect that cable. 

Matti2d

Hi all,
Just wanted to give an update regarding my experience with the Godin Multiac Spectrum. I emailed Godin and got a response that it may be the battery cable. They were nice enough to send the preamp wiring diagram with the cable orientation. I did inspect the cable, and everything looked fine. I tried unplugging/plugging it back in to make sure it was seated well but still got the static/crackle. Since I did not want to continue troubleshooting with no idea if how much $$ I would be in for, I decided to return to Guitar Center. I figured it was listed as "Excellent Condition" and I paid $1k, so the pickup should work as advertised.

I returned the guitar no problem - Guitar Center is always good about the 45 day return window. The manager assured me they check out all the guitars before listing so they can accurately assign the condition. Low and behold, I saw the guitar listed on Guitar Center's website the two days later, listed as "Excellent Condition". I highly doubt they fixed the pickup and even emailed them asking if they had fixed it... no response.

The guitar is no longer on the website, so some unsuspecting shmuck (like me) thought they were getting an awesome deal. Hopefully, they will know how to fix the static problem.

Anyways, thanks for all the help!

JeffTronics

I'm sorry to hear this. I am surprised godin sent only a battery cable. Especially after I assume you were specific to them about the problem, and, that they are familiar enough with how common the failing ribbon cable is.

The more your story unfolds, as mentioned earlier – I would not be surprised if you purchased the second replacement I returned with the same problem from Guitar Center. They have zero interest in fixing it so here they are selling it again. Unethical in my opinion and is why I personally will not purchase a guitar online from them. There are no quality checks in place with GC.

The guitar was discontinued during my purchase experience, and again, to my knowledge directly from Godin and Sweetwater, I got the last one. Which, we learned eventually ran into the ribbon cable issue.

There are many great guitars to choose from these days, and I wish you the best in finding the one that needs to end up in your hands :)

markbb

I wonder if I'm the "unsuspecting schmuck" that was next in line to try this problematic Multiac Spectrum SA. It was from a GC in CA approximately around that time frame.

My 1st inquiry to GC they said it was returned for issues that they couldn't detect. Being a sucker for a good deal - real or imagined - combined W an occasional impulsive gene, I went for it. I actually had all 3 PU's working for a brief time before the acoustic + 13 pin turned against me.

My life was so chaotic at the time - moving in addition to other issues - I let the 45 days slide, figuring that even if I had to ultimately replace the preamp, I would still be $ ahead compared to what the few out there were listed or sold for.

I'll probably put it on my new work bench in the next month or so + have at it. This thread has a lot of great insight to get my troubleshooting quest started in the right direction.

Much appreciation for + Happy Holidays to all.

Elantric

Without a 13 pin cable connected, you must have a fresh 9V battery installed, its under round rear cover , and read the Godin MultiAC owners manual

JeffTronics

Don't sell yourself short on this guitar. Please review my earlier post for details. It's worth purchasing the ribbon and battery cable kit from Godin parts. Though, you won't need to replace the battery connector.

To address your issue, FIRST replace the ribbon cable (no soldering required). If that doesn't do it, than consider getting a new Preamp module from Godin. That requires minor soldering for the new battery, but I doubt you will need a new PA module. When replacing the cable, make sure you have the orientation correct when connecting it to he male pins on the Input Jack side. This does requires a twist of the cable.

My guitar has been problem free since I replaced the cable. I did not believe Godin the first time that the cable is a known issue with these guitars. Now I trust them. And yes, with the battery in, i get both the magnetic and bridge pickups from the one jack. The control panel slider closest to you switches between the two. Ironically, it's in a reverse direction so when it's towards the bridge, it's for mag pickup. Someone was not thinking about this when they put the guitar together. One other oddity, since the master volume and tone knobs are at top edge, at times my shirt ends up catching the knob and lowering it. It's a thin guitar making that knob catch your chest/shirt.

If the rest of your guitar is good condition, it's a keeper – in my opinion. Worth fixing. Hopefully you don't get that first one got form GC which was water damaged.

My understanding is, I purchased the last two in the production line, the natural and black finish one.

By the way, i'm in Northern CA, closest Guitar Center is Concord.

Jeff